Is it too late to return to the stock market?

By: Mark Jewell

Investors are finally inching back into the stock market. But are they too late?While millions sought refuge in traditionally stable bonds over the past two years, they missed a more than 90 percent rally in stocks. Suddenly bonds don’t look so safe, and some of the $11 trillion that Americans have parked in mutual funds is shifting back to stocks.After putting more than $570 billion... READ MORE

Muni bonds offer income, but risks, too

By: Kathy M. Kristof

Worries about out-of-control state deficits, underfunded municipal pension plans and rising interest rates have been kicking the teeth out of the municipal bond market lately, with prices plunging and yields soaring.And that’s got some contrarians saying that now may be the time to jump into the market.“This is a great time to get into munis for anyone looking for income in... READ MORE

IRS no longer mails packages of tax forms

By: Carole Feldman

The start of tax season used to be heralded by the arrival of tax forms in the mail. Not any more.The Internal Revenue Service decided this year not to automatically mail them to individual and business taxpayers. “It’s a sign of the times,” said Terry Lemons, IRS senior spokesman. “More people are going electronic. We’re interested in saving taxpayers... READ MORE

Test your knowledge of common frauds

By: Beacon

Con artists are very good at tricking consumers into parting with money or divulging personal information that can be used to steal funds or run up thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit card charges.How good are you at telling a scam from a legitimate offer or advertisement? Take the following quiz to see. Correct answers follow. 1. You agree to sell your valuable collection of... READ MORE

Now’s a good time to review your portfolio

By: Mark Jewell

Mutual funds have been put to the test.Over the last three years investors saw their balances nose-dive, then edge back toward prior heights. But few investors have fully recovered.On the bright side, all that drama should make it relatively easy to perform an annual portfolio checkup, to decide which funds to keep and which to cast out.How a fund performed through meltdown and recovery are ... READ MORE

Convertible securities offer smoother ride

By: Steven T. Goldberg

If I were a betting man, I’d wager that 2011 turns out to be a better year for stocks than for bonds. With the extension of the Bush tax cuts and the clear resolve of the Federal Reserve to spur economic growth, I think that the stock market will do well for the remainder of this year — albeit with its customary stomach-churning dips.By the same token, economic growth,... READ MORE